There are significant parallels to be drawn between the violence in Mexico today and the violence that plagued Colombia a few years ago. Colombia is experiencing levels of peace that the country has not seen for many years. The homicide, kidnapping, armed robbery and other violent ‘index’ crime rates in Colombia have all plummeted over the past three years and they continue that impressive downward decline with each passing month.
Why? Because, Colombian Minister of Defense Juan Manuel Santos, who oversees both the Colombian National Police and the country’s military forces, aggressively and relentlessly attacked the powerful Colombian drug cartels, as well as the FARC, ELN and the remnants of the AUC, all designated by the United States and European Union as Foreign Terrorist Organizations, over the past ten years. President Uribe and his predecessor, and the Colombian people, reached a point where they realized the country had no other option but to fight the threat posed by these ruthless cartels and terrorist organizations, and fight them with every ounce of energy their security forces could muster. Most important—they committed to the fight, and they are staying in the fight until they are victorious.
The violence in Mexico, as difficult as it may be to comprehend at this point, is a product of President Calderon’s successful national security policies, and the success of his security forces. The Mexican drug cartels were on the verge of becoming more powerful than the government itself. Mexico, if it aggressively and relentlessly presses the attack against the cartels, will ultimately experience a level of peace that Colombia is experiencing today. What’s important for America to understand is that Colombia would not be where it is today without the influx of U.S. aid from ‘Plan Colombia,’ and Mexico will not win their fight without U.S. aid from ‘The Merida Initiative.’ We must continue to support our strongest allies to the South, Mexico and Colombia, or there will surely be more Venezuelas and Bolivias, former allies now lost.
Over 430 Mexican police officers and 30 Mexican military personnel died as a result of drug related violence in Mexico so far this year. For comparative purposes, when we approach 100 officers killed in the line of duty a year in our country, the public outrage and concern becomes abundantly obvious. No doubt some of those Mexican officers were killed, because they succumbed to corruption. Most, however, died protecting not only Mexico from the ravages of drugs and ruthless drug cartels—but died protecting our beloved Nation as well. And most of those officers died from assailants using firearms illegally smuggled into Mexico from the United States. We owe Mexico far more, and they deserve far more from us.
Finally, what shocked me most about William Booth’s outstanding article is the fact he failed to mention that America doesn’t appear to be shocked at all by the 50+ beheadings in Mexico this year. If one beheading was reported in Iraq or Afghanistan tomorrow, there would be a furor of passionate commentary by ‘terrorism experts’ appearing on national news about the significance and impact of the event. Sad silent commentary indeed, on the insignificance most fellow Americans place on what’s happening just out our back door.